Skip to main content

tv   Close Up  CSPAN  September 7, 2012 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT

7:00 pm
and this technology is still with us. the navy uses it, as far as, the navy went on to use it for clandestine deep diving operations. the offshore oil industry picked up on it right away because it was moving into deeper water just at the time sealab is coming of age. and it needed underwater workforce. it needed construction workers who could work for long hours at deeper depths than ever before. this is how you do it. those guys are out there today doing work that we don't see, worked we don't know in crazy places like the bottom of the north sea and rather insane conditions. and they are there as this program, and there is only one remaining u.s. sponsored sea-based in existence, which probably most people don't know or can't name.
7:01 pm
it's the underwater version of the international space station essentially. it's owned by the national oceanic and atmospheric administration, noaa, and managed by university of north carolina, it's called aquarius and it's been in operation for about 20 years there for scientific purposes largely, and it's a descendent of sealab. and a significant one to the people who use it. there were several in between sealab and aquarius but that is another story. i'm going to leave it at that i think for now. but just to make sure, we will just segue into the q&a here. i hope you have some, and i can't resist playing this. do we have volume here?
7:02 pm
♪ >> yeah, a little more. ♪ ♪ >> extra points for whoever can do more that came from? somebody? [inaudible] >> you are personnel, you're not allowed to answer. the conflict of interest. yes, yes. the pop-culture vestige of sealab called sealab 2021 for which that is the very catchy theme song by the band calamine. so you see the legacy continues. not just the military, not just in scientific and not just
7:03 pm
industrial, but pop-culture, too. so, questions? [inaudible] >> okay. >> i understand a challenge in this endeavor, but as i begin reading the book, one of the first thoughts occurred to me, are we late in this science? and given that mankind to explore the oceans -- [inaudible] traveling and so forth, and it seems that if we have just begun to explore, so my question is, my impression mistaken or, that are we truly late in the science? >> late depends on the course of human history. it's never too late to start, but late in the sense, yeah, they had kind of a running start here in the '60s and it did peter out a little bit.
7:04 pm
used do to have bases like accordance and our people still talk about creating more basis like a quiz because scientists, marine sciences find it incredibly valuable to be around-the-clock on site with their observations and the scientific experiments, much as jane goodall went into the jungle to live with the chimpanzees. the same advantage can be had for scientists who don't have to limit their diet to 20 minutes or half an hour. so there's a huge potential there to do all sorts of things down to a variety of depth, and that is the question of will either, you know, will through government funding or will through clever private industry. there is some of that that has tried this, to do more. but the methods and technology are there. as i mentioned in the book, if you've gotten that far, thank you for starting, the robotic technology has gotten really
7:05 pm
good so you can keep people out of harm's way completely and still do a lot of things you want to do, but do them remotely with robots and not put people in the picture. there's also a new generation of dive suits that's been in the works for a while, almost like a spacesuit in that you remain contain a near surface atmosphere, and don't even deal with diving and the elements, but you have a suit that is flexible enough and made of all the right mix of ingredients and medals and whatnot. that's almost as if you're a free swimming diaper but you're not exposed to the elements. so yeah, there's a varieties of things that could be done at it's just with a lot of programs money kind of dwindled, and so there remains much that could be done, if someone decided. so, microphone.
7:06 pm
>> what does the cousteau family members doing nowadays? have they left the ocean business? >> now, the cousteau family carries on their tradition. the cousteau family if you know anything about it, there's been some good books written about it. there's a very compensated fairly, kind of to cousteau families it turned out, almost kind of a shakespearean situation. if you go googling, there's a couple of good biographies about cousteau that describes this better than i can. but no, they are largely in different areas of ocean activities. jean michel cousteau wrote a nice blurb for my book is based in santa barbara, has an organization called ocean futures society is doing a lot of interesting work around the ocean, and he is one of cousteau
7:07 pm
two sons from his original marriage and family, and then there's another family that is also involved in ocean works. not everyone gets along so well so there some complications. yeah, the cousteau name goes on in that, in a lot of regards. and, of course, it's synonymous to all of us with ocean research and exploration. it's really quite a powerful brand you would say in the 21st century. >> there's a lot of fish that live down at a depth and have no trouble with the pressure and the gas pressure. two questions. if they come up to our temperature and pressure from are they okay? sadly, our studies focused on the -- and how they resist that sort of environment? >> yes.
7:08 pm
[laughter] and that's a whole area of oceanography are not going to pretend to be an expert on. yes. i mean, all of these, a lot of questions about the fish and the animals, some of them are still mysteries. a lot of them are under study. my emphasis was on the people and the gear in getting this done so i can't talk knowledgeably about them but that's related subject. and they did have some issues with fish unexpectedly during sealab ii. they had a shark cages built around, just case in the sharks showed up and there was this data they could run behind and hi. that was the kind of forward thinking they were doing, trying to imagine what kind of problems they might have in these ocean environments. sealab ii i should mention that dark water took place just off the coast of san diego here in 1965, and it can't their intentionally because the conditions were more dark and
7:09 pm
dire and cold. the first experiment was in bermuda where the water was reasonably warm, reasonably clear. they did want to start off and the most difficult circumstances so it took sealab ii off the coast of san diego were it was much colder and there were, it was a more hostile environment. including the cameo by fish that wound up giving our friend scott carpenter whitelisting, and i guess i don't want to give that away because it's in the book. but you never know what you will find out there in the ocean. is a dynamic environment and that's one of the things that makes it different from space. once you are out of stage you can be pretty sure what's going on, but anytime you leave an osha for habitat, it's anybody's guess what's going to swim by or what's going to happen to another aspect. >> when the sealab, when your
7:10 pm
gathering the data for research, were you giving it all to the navy, or was it public domain? >> was i getting it all to the navy? >> yes, were you giving it all or primarily for the navy? >> now, the navy has nothing to do with it. i mean, the navy, i talked to a few times, i started to get some documentation or information. i had to freedom of information act -- three freedom of information act requests behind this thing. it was kind of a bureaucratic communication that way but my information all came from things like the lost reel to reel tapes. the interviews. and as i say, i had help from somebody at the library of congress to scour the archives to see what is the sealab archives are as far as anyone could tell there wasn't one. so what i have to go on as a
7:11 pm
journalist i was kind of able to dig up. >> it must have led you in the wrong direction because from your research, from their research at sealab, did they send information directly to the navy? wasn't secured kind of information on that research? >> yes. so yeah, the first couple of sealab's were run by the office of naval research so they were producing reports and they were learning everything that the was to learn from the project to enhance the own diving capabilities, which they did in the navy through sealab. and as i said at the end, some of the scientific work that was going on, they have civilian scientist, divers from scripps institute of ocean all be involved in sealab ii to get them on board and see what kinds
7:12 pm
of experiments in things they could do, working from the lab that they couldn't do as conventional divers. but all of this was shared information with the navy, and so they were learning very much. >> so, this story seems to have a lot of elements for a great film. has anybody expressed any interest in the movie rights? >> interest in the movie rights, no, not that i know of. although it james cameron is in the audience anywhere here, no. it's funny you ask because, you know, there's obviously a lot of nonfiction books concerning the filter they would be some underwater challenges with is what i think of although certainly people see movies like the abyss, these kind of challenges have been overcome. and what's interesting to me in the kind of journalistic or created since is i think in some
7:13 pm
ways, i hate to say a better movie could be made out of this than the book but you would have created like this making a movie in a way that i didn't riding this book. so that when you have a couple of great characters like george and walt who i described were pretty different characters, we learned a fair amount of george come and you put them in some of the situations that they were in. and are able to create dialogs and bring other characters into that situation, you have quite a great setup for a movie, i think. so bring them on. and in all seriousness, you know, for me a big part of this exercise has been getting the story of sealab out. this somehow got lost on the historical radar so anything that brings, like the book or what we're doing right here, that brings more attention, understanding to it i think is a good thing. so just in that respect a major
7:14 pm
motion picture would be welcomed. and quite good i think, too. >> first off i want to say that i'm about 50 pages into the book. it was very intricately reported. very interesting story. i especially like the story about hurting the goats around the navy bases. but i was curious to know, how did you get interested in doing this? >> how do they get interested in doing the book? >> the divers and this whole subject. >> did you miss my spiel at the bikini? >> i'm sorry. i did walk in a little. >> i told you i get asked that question a lot. we will have to for the benefit of those were here refer you to the beginning of the tape. but the short story was, the journalistic of my yossi was the custom reporting i was doing in santa barbara just up the coast.
7:15 pm
one thing led to another and that was sealab. and the fact that there was no real record or book of what this is all about, then that became my job to tell the. i didn't mention earlier but i got a publisher interested in a contract to do it, and i went back to my desk and went about my journalistic work, as i've done for years before. it's a little bit lonelier. >> you described early on this sensation when your breathing in those circumstances, what it's like. could you go into more detail what it feels like to be gathered? >> in the breathing peanut butter? that was a little bit of hyperbole on that divers card. that's not really quite the experience at these depths, but as i describe in the book because those questions that
7:16 pm
george ask him how deep could a diver go, how long could a diver stay down, the kind of research that he did can take it in some other laboratories in england and in france and in the united states, particularly at duke university where they had a big hyperbaric facility and they were back in chambers. there were still some government funding and they're still trying to figure out how long could a diver stay down, how deep could a diver go. and it turned out, and i described, i sort of follow that question in the book because as i said it seemed like isn't this something we know, how high amount everest is and what the deepest sound is? it seems like it's a given, it's not. but what you find is because gas has become more dense and significant doubts under greater pressure, it does feel in the divers describe the sensation like they're breeding a liquid almost. that is so thick that they have to mouse brief very deliberately
7:17 pm
to get the gases in and out and so that makes me uncomfortable because when you are eating your not really breathing. and so that was kind of the issues that came up against, when they get to depths, let's say beyond 1500 feet, over some experiments over 2000 feet of depth. and in a commercial oilfield now, i think 1000-foot dives are still, they still haven't and they have happen, and they detail one of them in the book. there's a whole chapter devoted to the commercial but experience to give you a sense of kind of who these unsung heroes are that do this rather difficult work. but yeah, that sensation he was describing was a little hyperbole to what effect does happen when your breathing these gases at extreme depths. doesn't sound too fun.
7:18 pm
>> last question. i hope it's a really good one. how about another question about movie rights, shall we? i'm just saying. >> [inaudible] >> yes. >> [inaudible] >> yes. the work on the brooklyn bridge was using essentially diving techniques that have been developed over the ages. in the case of the brooklyn bridge you have people, not significant gaps but they're working under pressure to keep the mud and water away from them so they're working in these kind of environments like muddy cocoons or something. [inaudible] >> right. they go down any chamber and
7:19 pm
create a dry space to work and. it's pressurized to keep the mud and water at bay. so they were basically doing the diving decompression techniques of the day at that time. sometimes with some interest because it wasn't always the most exact science but in a lot of ways diving is still not an exact science because all bodies are different and the response differently, and you find that in the book as well. though so hard and fast rules about what works and what doesn't work. i touched on that in the book on little bit, in the section that kind of brings the history of diving. >> thank you all very however, e
7:20 pm
leadership just before it the democratic convention, the week befo theonvention, >> a week before the convention, there is a cabal of this crazy coalition of democrats, southern crats. segregationist, strom thurmondre who will eventually step aside t for eight, big-city bosses of jersey where jake are via harey chicago, liberals or hubert liberals humphrey, members of the roosevelt family. they all go, we want to take. but i draw us back again, crashes the whole thing. there is another explanation of why truman is able to pull this off, even though people are so weary of him.uman p and i can't repeat his exact wrd trums, but when he hears the words of the chairman or the eisenhower collapsing before the convention, he says welcome eacl
7:21 pm
of those people that any blinkers sits behind his desk can get renominated. and that is a large part of it. it's very hard to dump a sitting president in the nominating process. >> the u.s. is us, your government and mine and it can be as powerful as these governments want it to be. and sometimes we talk about the u.n. as it is, as day, distancing ourselves. by doing that what is ultimately responsible in these situations alibi. and blaming the secretary and what of my predecessors used to
7:22 pm
say that we often refer to the secretary-general as sg for sure. since sg does it stand for secretary-general, it stands for a scapegoat. >> you are the worst scapegoat and cheese. the >> exactly. there is a scapegoat function of the u.n., but member states in the media have to be very careful not to dump so much that we won't even be used as an alibi. >> the fact is in our world, which is often remarkably stifling when it comes to thinking about writing, about our politics and the national security state, but what used to be called foreign policy but is now more accurately thought of as global military policy, we
7:23 pm
definitely need some guys in rooms, even with neither is a are very, very small. we need people willing to step back, ready to make their way out of the massive trees and actually taken the words. my book, the united states is fear is what it's doing my best to considered american world and absurdities that are accepted as ordinary reality. as those who know, i write myself annihilates your grandma frameworks of the site by others that is despite what everyone thinks about brevity, attention spans and the internet. before jeremy and i talk, going to reach you to pieces the book, both on the shorter side at the first associates really my thoughts about kaizen rams. i wrote it back in march 2010,
7:24 pm
well before military was out of iraq and just after the supreme court issues citizens united decision, but before was utterly clear that the floodgates had been open so wide that we might be called the politics of the rich in america would soon become simply american politics. i called it, being a critic, all the world's a stage for s. in march 2010, i wrote about a group of pundits and more internalized, eager not to see the us military leave iraq. that appeared on the op-ed page of "the los angeles times" and the longer version and then began pondering the media world. one of its stopped curiously enough with the military newspaper, stars & stripes. from a military man can miss e-mailed response, rager article in stars & stripes beard was the last time you visited iraq? a critique and 15 well-chosen words, so much more effective than the one angry e-mails i
7:25 pm
get. his point is interesting. at least it interested me. after less than wrote back in the senate 65 who had never been anywhere near him back in and and undoubtedly never would be. i have to assume that e-mailer had spent some time there possibly more than once and disagreed with my assessments. first-hand experiences not to be taken lightly. but after what do i know about iraq? only the reporting i've been able to read from thousands of miles away or analysis bounce in the blogs of experts like juan cole. on the other hand, even through thousands of miles away i was one of many who could see enough by early 2003 to go in the streets and demonstrate against a non-russian disaster of innovation, but a lot of people theoretically far more knowledgeable than any of us consider just the cat's meow, the cakewalk of the new century. it is true that i've never strolled down the street and back down or ahmadi or bosnia
7:26 pm
and that is a deficit. if you want to read about the american experience in iraq. it's also true and i spent hours sipping tea with iraqi tribal leaders have been inside the green zone or stepped foot on one of the vast american bases on the pentagon's private contractors building the country. where did that stop me from writing regularly when i called and still call a american cigarettes, when most of the people who visit those bases didn't consider places with 20-mile perimeters, the canon mercenary person who knows what else to be particularly noteworthy structures on the iraqi landscape and so with rare exceptions worth commenting on. and certainly no expert on the shiites and sunnis. i'm a little foggy on my iraqi geography and never seen the tigris or euphrates rivers pitt on the other hand, it does occur that a whole lot to the american spun and officials and military types have done all of the above, spent time up close and
7:27 pm
personal for a piece in the american version couldn't have arrived at the last many years. the first-hand experience, but has been for reporters like the "washington post" and now "the new york times" but patrick in the british independent can't be the be-all. sometimes being far away, not just in iraq, but from washington and all the thinking that goes on air from a visibly claustrophobic world of american global policy managing has its advantages. sometimes being out of date allows you to open your eyes and take in the larger shape of things, which is often the obvious, even if little noticed. i can't help but think of a friend of mine is up close and military commanders in afghanistan that they were trapped in an american-made box incapable of seeing beyond its boundaries of that is commenced in afghanistan. i have no doubt be in there was
7:28 pm
to be desired. if you take a personal blender set to put off that hardly matters for a wire, thinking about my stars & stripes readers question, the conclusion on provision we come to is this, it is not just where you go. it is also how you see what is fair and no less important who you see that matters. which means that sometimes you can actually see more by going nowhere at all. an iraqi tragedy. but american officials, civilian or military open their eyes to check out the landscape. all evidence indicates the first thing they tend to see with themselves. that is they see an american stage and those native actors and countries we've invaded and occupied in pakistan and somalia and yemen. semi-war as so many big players in american drama. this is why in both iraq and afghanistan can military
7:29 pm
commanders like secretary of defense robert gates or adviser james jones continued to call so i unselfconsciously for putting an iraqi or afghan phase on whichever war was being discussed. that is to follow up the image its logical conclusion, put an iraqi or afghan mask that they recognize however inconvenient land or embarrassingly as american. >> watch this and other programs online at booktv booktv. >> journalism professor, richard john talk to the tv about the history of the telegraph and telephone in the u.s. the interview was recorded in the king's college at columbia
7:30 pm
university's wool library. this half hour interview as of the tv's college series. >> you are watching booktv on c-span 2. they go to universities to talk to professors who are also authors. right now we are at columbia university in new york city and we are joined by professor richard john, who is the author of this book, "network nation: inventing american telecommunications." so professor john, samuel morris invented the telegraph, yes or no? >> guest: no. we loved the heroic advantage and it turns out one recently the is because they think he needs of the promoters who are actually developing the networks that would prove so enormously
7:31 pm
important in an 18th century communications and communications today. so yes, samuel morris was a gifted inventor who had the good fortune to have a college classmate who began granting him an extremely broad that enabled him to supply the telegraph. he didn't succeed, but that was instant basis, planes that were then picked up by the second telegraph, the western union, to use the plan to busters thereof. so it's quite a single-story. but no, senator morris did not invent the telegraph. alexander graham bell did not invent the telephone. alexander graham bell is one of
7:32 pm
the very talented individuals in the 1870s. including deleting, and it telegraphs. and a promoter who had behind him a very small, but very affect this telegram copied. in figure two companies competing with each other for copyrights, and the competitive struggle. his primary background which
7:33 pm
eventually became at&t appeared he might not have heard of alexander graham bell. so the inventors are operating in a distinctive economy in which there are inventive is indeed a relatively small part of the story. >> host: said richard john how would you compare to a steve jobs or bill gates today? >> guest: well, they are very different. moore was an unsuccessful entrepreneur. they'll did not wish to be a notch for newer. gates and jobs are very successful entrepreneurs. and i'm not some ways more system is revealing. he's the most revealing contrast because he very much wanted to rely on the last generation's templates for how to organize the business, to land the federal government to the
7:34 pm
federal government and then basically get out of the way. and when that failed he tried to license its telegraph patents very selectively. but this proved impossible. he did not have -- the federal government proved unable to give him the kind of protection he needed in order to pursue his business. and the case of, he famously had the very fortunate to stumble upon the computer business, software business at the moment when ibm was looking for a developer. ibm gave him the running room that the federal government didn't give morris. >> host: so you're saying telecommunications in the u.s. has been regulated since day one. just go communications or i was highly regulated, but they been regulated in different ways.
7:35 pm
in the case of the telegraph, the original idea was to be coordinated and tried for several years to sell his address to congress and congress to food to go on and develop his own unsuccessful network. in the case of the telephone, eight developed in a very different local economy. the rules of the games matter and are different from the telegraphs to the telephone. in the rule of the telephone can and mandated to have to establish a municipal franchise. and by doing so, you are obliged to follow either kinds of rules and regulations, whereas a successful telegraph company, a second-generation operatives in the political economy, but they were still rules, always will be rules. it's just too important a factor
7:36 pm
and is too bound up with all kinds of main patent rights forever to be like say a lemonade stand. that's the case of the past and the present. unless one of the main themes of the book is the extent to which the political structures within which communication networks shape the business strategies in the promoters that those networks should strategy. >> host: so professor, how does the internet fit into the regulation structure? >> guest: contrary to showing up in popular books, the internet was not embedded in anybody's garage and neither was the world wide web. it was a project. and what is remarkable about the internet, if you think about it, was that no corporation would've taken it on. and it was only possible in a relatively short period of time when you're trying to economize on scarce computer processing
7:37 pm
space. so you have cheaper long-distance telephone lines in the process in space and you need this computer processing space because you are trying to compete missile firings. and so that was to relate this cold war scientist to try to put together a remarkable network that really didn't have a commercial rationale. and that is part of the reason with a particular business model in mind, so we have early 1990s to develop successful, which has been part of watching it develop. so yes, highly regulated from the beginning. maine is highly regulated today. even the idea of creating a level playing field is a particular set of regulatory. and it is important that not only those who care about the history of communication networks, but does to kerry about the future of communication networks recognize
7:38 pm
the relative issues is not between regulation of regulation and deborah kinds of regulation and promote different kinds of innovation. >> host: housecoat affronted western union. western union applies sort of vague combine of small telegraph lines that is in the midwest, new york, ohio, michigan. if there was to be one hero, one central figure, it would be a promoter from upstate new york. and that hybrid simply did was to think that the state. first thing it did as he was able to convince a number of merchants and other capitalists in rochester, new york to invest in what had been at the time looked like a failed venture.ú that is to say, telegraph
7:39 pm
corporations. because of the ways the laws were set up come other telegraph corporations and almost none of them are making money. so he convinces his rochester, new york buddies. he was a poor by who to new york >> he puts a lot of money into this corporation known as western union, which he will then -- she will then use that capital to kind of buy up and the second key innovation, besides a certain amount of capital you need to raise that one point in time. the other key innovation was that he figured out a way to get some of the benefits of the not fully in an economy in which state government was encouraging lots of lesser telegraph companies. bloody days was is established an exclusive right-of-way contracts with individual
7:40 pm
brothers. if you can get an exclusive contract to train detroit and chicago on a particular vail road line, you were able to maintain that line at a much cheaper cost and instead of having to use rose, having tedious bushwhacker the country. and by establishing this exclusive right-of-way railroads, they got very cheap telegraph service. the telegraph companies got the rights of way. by establishing those arrangements and usual contractual agreements that the courts are reluctant to challenge in congress was reluctant to challenge, although it did, by doing that he was able to get around the limitations that state lawmakers had placed on telegraph companies to the antenna not really telegraph us. and those laws had been enacted as a response to morris. so you have morris who fails because of the estate primetime monopoly luscombe is simply succeeds by ingeniously using
7:41 pm
the affair was to create the kind of monopolies the state has. >> are there any comparisons today for rice to at&t in broadband and cell towers et cetera? pasco here's the comparison that intrigues me. congress enacted a law opened up competition just as it had been opened up. the idea of 11 a thousand flowers a massive income operating companies. in fact, we got almost precisely the opposite. we ended up with two dominant telecommunications. at&t, which was spca camacho to go back to genealogy with the corporate telephone company, second biggest in the world. and verizon which was the new york telephone company which in 1900 was the biggest telephone operating company. this is precisely what happened in the late 187 days.
7:42 pm
congress was intent upon preventing western union from dominating telegraph markets of the next asked to last. when in 1876 and open a address precisely the opposite. an outcome is astonished and outraged the business community today, which was the rise of jay gould as the de facto telegraph magnate who takes over western union and 1881 and that inspired a kind of horror and disgust on the part of the business community that would be hard to envision today. not murdoch, not, no business leader was reviled as jay gould was in 1881 but he takes over western union. the great irony as he takes it over as an anti-monopolist. he was claiming he was not planning a special privilege and was simply going to use his own commercial acumen to move ahead. and he does it in a way that
7:43 pm
immediately sets off alarm bells because he is the most notorious financial buccaneer at the age. the most notorious fellow who made his name by speculating gold cabrillo securities who now is in control not only of the congress for the circulation, which is very important after a speculator, because of his relationship with the newspapers he was also -- it is tiered and i think with considerable justice. critics were right to plant stories in newspapers. so there's a marvelous cartoon in which he says, i never speculated. but as jay gould never speculate? is the control's western union you because the controls newspapers, because he has a loss on the associated press. they pâté had sitting inside a shock sticker, which is a jar.
7:44 pm
that is the machine that would generate these tapes to put the stock prices on. and you look very closely at the cartoon. you see that jay gould is actually writing the stock prices themselves. he doesn't need to speculate because he can dominate the financial markets. and that is the kind of power that you could do in the 1880s are taking advantage of anti-monopoly laws. and we have similar concerns today, i think warranted concerns about market consolidation communications, the power of google, the power of apple. but it really wasn't the concerns in the 1880s were more focused because at the ability of one individual to control both the congress for the circulations in the content itself. and if there is a lesson to get from the telegraph is that it's
7:45 pm
a kind of control that lawmakers historically found. we wanted to set my communication and i think you can take that as a lesson out of this historical study. i'm not writing a book with policy pronouncements or with advice to lawmakers, but we do have a long tradition of encouraging the segmentation of our communication and that has been a remarkably good regulatory strategy promoted in the nation and has made the united states or much of the 20th century the envy of the world and the provisioning of communication and telecommunication services. >> host: richard john, what the concerns today is the issue of privacy. was that an issue in the 1800s? >> guest: is certainly wise. you really need to go back before the electric telegraph. the post office, which was an extremely important precursor and the template is then seen no more essays map. mine, who's the communication
7:46 pm
network. the post office under federal law in 1792 prescribes anyone other than a very specific well-defined group of federal officers for opening letters. in fact, the concept of privacy in the united states come in the very concept is linked with his postal policy, to turn privacy and the idea that there's something you have a right to do that the government does not have a right to interfere. now, what happens to the concept of privacy? while the technology is very different. and when to send a message by telegraph, you have to permit a telegraph operator to write out, toussaint, to transcribe your message. so that operator knows what is in the message for you. you can send back a. that's one of the solutions, but then what if you're a government official and you're concerned
7:47 pm
about content of messages? well, you have the strength of securities in the 1860s and again in the 1870s were congress calls the thousands, tens of thousands of telegraphs. and from the present-day point of view and the point of view of certain contemporary says rather extraordinary invasion of privacy and it led to the end of the courier of the presidential contender because some of the telegrams that were revealed were really quite embarrassing to him. but what is interesting about this historically as there was little outrage from congress about these dragnet subpoenas. so who is concerned? the marshes were concerned and western union was concerned. the corporation was actually moving these messages. of course the telegraph in this company was dominating the government by commercial
7:48 pm
providers. see the western union seeking privacy and western union sense of standards in the telegraph should be the same as the standards in the post office. so the government is not necessarily the best guardian of privacy. i think that's a lesson we can take from the history of the 1870s and the 1890s. postcode did samuel morris direct from his invention? >> guest: samuel morris died rich because his business manager had the good sense to invest in western union and that is what saved samuel morris. even the western union was affirmed that was in effect the great rival. the irony is even richer because western union saw the value of samuel morris as a sort of poster child for the technology and they actually are behind the direction of the statue that
7:49 pm
still stands in central park pier one of the first-ever racked it and by linking him with western union, they create for themselves a heroic mythology. it's really completely false, but one that helps to associate a rather low regard for the time with heroic inventor of today. so by investing in western union he died rich, as did mr. purnell uses the money he gets to come the great university. so one of our ivy league schools is a beneficiary of telegraphs financing. >> host: worded alexander graham bell go after a 19? >> guest: he had a fascinating career. he had no interest in business whatsoever.
7:50 pm
he also becomes the poster child. they trot him out when bell engineers figure out how to send transcontinental voicesignal, which is an incredibly amazing achievement. they trot out loud. that is because -- it's a different fellow in the early telephone, with nothing to do with ibm put them any chance of the line. and if that says about publicists are saying, american public, if you want an adventure, they will give you one. go watch the two ends of the line. but they have absolutely nothing to do with the transcontinental telephone. they'll could have had a very fine group of engineers and they could have lifted up the national heroes. they didn't want to do that. they didn't want to emphasize. they want to focus on the team.
7:51 pm
so what value between 1879 when he becomes a rich man and his agreement between western union and bell in 1915, he becomes an internet venture and gets involved in airplanes. he gets involved in communications. his great passion was as a teacher of the task. and that is why he's interested. he is trying to figure out a device to enable the task to hear. and that really became and remains a passion. so he's a pure inventor who really has a distinguished inventive legacy with morris. he was a very talented man, but of course his career with a painter, a pager of baroque landscapes and portraits, but there wasn't much money and that helps explain why he got the
7:52 pm
telegraph. so they have very different areas, but the book -- "network nation," they are in there, but it's really about the promoters, entrepreneurs, financiers, lawmakers that were the innovators inventions and if you care about developed an indication of hers, today innovation is more proper. >> host: could be argued about jay gould, what would or could mitigations networks be like right now? >> guest: yes, jay gould is a remarkably effective entrepreneur who took advantage and the telegraph network that he commanded was extraordinarily on innovative. and i think there's a lesson there. this is not gould's fault. if the rules of the game encourage competition, then you can have a burst of innovation,
7:53 pm
join a hothouse in the 1870s. jay gold rescued people for innovations, the competition. broadband telegraph, telephone, photograph of electric power, but those innovations for the most part do not renown to the benefit of the executives running the telegraph. he is a broadband telegraph, but none of the obvious. and that's so different in the case of the telephone. highly regulated from the start, the highly regulated environment comes bell labs, a crown jewel arguably the most in world history, highly regulated business. some regulation gives you an ovation. the competition or anti-monopoly gave you a much narrower -- businesses have been much
7:54 pm
narrowly focused mandate, but she don't have the kind of cumulative innovation that made the telephone system at the 20 century the envy of the world and of course still to this day if that one of the internet. >> host: thomas edison figure into your book? >> guest: of course. thomas andersen who was an inventor who was competing with dell in the 1870s to invent something patented and sold to reader jay gold or to western union. all of thomas edison's patents, but the money he used to build the laboratory came out of the telegraph. he was the telegraph inventor before he became an electrical matter. and that is not controversial, but my contribution is to show how the rules of the games encourage individual site who's trying to figure at pattern make
7:55 pm
a living, provides circumstances in which you can in fact make the money. he saw the quadruplets to western union and with that money useful to both western union and two gold, which is a nice word together. and the money he got for that, he then goes his laboratories and of course becomes extraordinarily important in the history of innovation in the united states in the world. >> host: to rehab the right in your view, regulatory spammer today to encourage that innovation? >> guest: well, i don't to the future. i guess i had two lessons from the history. one is that regulation is inevitable and that regulation to promote any kind of universal access and which large numbers of people get access to relatively equal terms to communication network worked very well and that was the case of the telephone.
7:56 pm
as late as 1890, the president of western union, who would tell anyone who would listen if you want to send a message over a long distance, use the post office. the telegraph was not intended to be a mass media for the entire population. as a specialty media for exclusive clientele. the telephone started out that way, but as a result of regulatory pressure, including the very real threats of extortion on the part of the corrupt city officials, the business strategy changes and they embrace an extremely expansive vision called universal service, which by about 1907 creates a presumption that anyone living in the big city or small town has the right to make a local telephone call at a reasonable cost. i those extraordinary innovation. nowhere else in the world at that time. if you have regulations that
7:57 pm
promote an even playing field, provide access, that can create a cauldron of innovation that benefits every downed to the entire population. i believe access to information this way. but there's a second blessing. and that is in the american tradition we have a various to, long-standing presumption that one communication is to say, newspapers did not get control of the post office or the post office did not get control of the telegraph. the telephone did not get control of radio. radio did not get control of television. television did not take control of the media that follows. nevada could be determined on the basis of technological alone. we've made a series of decisions to sort of whacked new communications develop in a way
7:58 pm
to encourage the kind of rivalry, to distinguish between, for example, the providing of content and the confidence within which communication messages are transmitted. and that he served us well in the past and it seems to me that that is the legacy deeply embedded in the american vision. it's not something we have to invent today. this would've done business for 200 years. we've had an extraordinarily innovative communication infrastructure. that is the lesson to you could bring to bear when you think about the issues of her own. >> host: we've been talking with richard john compressor at columbia university about the book "network nation: inventing american telecommunications." >> guest: thank you very much. i enjoyed it.
7:59 pm
>> the u.n. is us, your government and i and we can be as powerful as these governments want to be. and sometimes we talk about the u.n. as age, as they, distancing ourselves. by doing that, we are given the governments, who are ultimately responsible for action or inaction of some of the situation and alibi. and alibi secretariat and the secretary general. in fact, one of my predecessors used to say that we often refer to the secretary general as sg for sure. since sj doesn't stand for secretary-general, it stands for a scapegoat. >> so you are scapegoat in chief. >> there is a scapegoat function of the u.n. but member states and the media


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on